View Full Version : Kogswell Porteur/Randonneur or similar?

Bruce B
08-18-2007, 06:07 AM
I've seen a couple of these Kogswell bikes riding around town. They look highly practical for carrying stuff and just look fun to ride. The website says they use the not too common 650B tires. ( www.kogswell.com )

Does anyone have any experience with these bikes or similar ones that are locally available? Anyone have a Kogswell they'd be willing to let me test ride? I'd love to get one, but am reluctant to order up a bike I've never ridden...

Any advice would be appreciated.


03-14-2009, 02:19 PM
Hey Bruce B - I just published a review of my Kogswell on a blog that I contribute to. If you're still interested, you can read it here:



03-14-2009, 04:20 PM
not to mention that you can get 650B tires at two places locally - Universal Cycles (pick it up; they've got very high shipping charges) and Bike Tires Direct, out by the airport.

the Wumpus
03-15-2009, 08:36 AM
I like everything about the Kogswell bikes, right up to the 650B part. I don't like relying on arcane wear items for daily transportation.

I'd definitely recommend checking out the local selection of these tires first. The ones I've seen (online, never have met one in person) tend towards nostalgic. I think Schwalbe makes a modern tire for this size... googling... Yep, there's a Marathon. 40mm width only. Universal Cycles and Bike Tires Direct both carry it. BTD also has a Panaracer, but it looks like what you'd find at the hardware store. Rivendell has a few expensive, anachronistic novelty tires as well. That's it for 650B street tires.

Rims are going to be harder to find locally. Universal has two. One is a "tubeless" clincher style specialty rim. The other is a disc brake specific rim. The first requires special parts and may not be roadside patchable, the second requires planning ahead and special ordering the bike with disc brake mounts. Both are 32 spoke rims, not quite what I'd want on a utility bike.

03-15-2009, 09:55 AM
You'll have to say what you mean by "arcane".

My current 650B tires are Michelin Axial Raids (unfortunately no longer manufactured); previous to that I used the Riv/Panaracer Nifty Swifties. One flat in 5000 miles of riding. They've got the Kevlar belt thing going for them.

Rims - using Velocity Synergy right now (32 hole, I'm not big enough to thrash the components); got some Velocity Aeroheads in waiting. Did not source either of them locally.

the Wumpus
03-15-2009, 04:33 PM
I guess I've been spoiled. I get to think about if I'd like to try 35 mm wide Marathons rather than my usual 32's, or maybe a pair of those Supremes I've been hearing about. I just walk into a bike shop, and there they are! I can pick them up and compare them to other tires; which one is thicker, or more flexible, or I'll poke the tread with a thumbnail to get an idea of the stickiness or hardness of the tires.

I'd just have a hard time walking away from something as strongly supported as 700C for touring or commute use. I'm spoiled.

03-15-2009, 05:15 PM
even if you can't get your hands directly on the 650B goods (and Universal does have the Col de la Vie and Nifty Swiftie, right in the rack at the counter), there is a huge community of obsessive 650B cyclists that will answer any question you've got :) And the ones you didn't ask, too. Which is how I've settled on Michelins for the time being. I'd like the Grand Bois, but they apparently flat too easily. And the Michelins are WAY spiffy, with that red pinstripe.

the Wumpus
03-16-2009, 07:00 PM
Or maybe I'm a Marathon snob! It's good to know that Universal has things that aren't on the internet store. Bumps them a little up the chain from internet retailer who just happens to have a will-call-able location for us locals, towards actual local bike shop.

I guess if you're going to have 650B in stock anywhere, it'll be in Portland. I learned something today! Well, more power to the 650B's. More options to getting bikes to fit their riders is a good thing. I've seen a couple of customs with 26's (one touring bike with 24's!), but it would be nice to have that middle step available and well supported for medium-size folk.

03-16-2009, 11:34 PM
My bike prior to my 650B had Marathons - 27". Those were the heaviest, slowest tires ever... Granted, they never had flats, but still...

the Wumpus
03-17-2009, 08:03 PM
Nah, studded tires! OTOH, I only missed two commutes. Both during the snowpocolypse, which I regarded as severe bike abuse after trying it once. But they're a real drag on clean pavement. I caught myself aiming for icy patches to cut down on the drag. Totally worth it for icy days, though!

03-21-2009, 09:50 PM
Rivendell probably has the best selection of 650B tires:

Rivendell Tires (http://www.rivbike.com/products/list/tires_tubes_pumps_patches?a=1&page=all#product=none)

If I can get my tires at Universal, that's what I do as you save on shipping.

Don't forget that Schwalbe's North American headquarters is in Vancouver BC area, and they do take internet orders.

I just ordered some creme reflex Delta Cruiser Schwalbes direct from the site (can't find them anywhere else with the reflector strip and white color). They were sent in 3 days, by FedEx ground.

So Schwalbe is quick delivery.

Here are their 650B tires, only two:

Marathon HS 368 (http://www.schwalbetires.com/marathon_368)

and a cyclocross model:

Racing Ralph (http://www.schwalbetires.com/racing_ralph)

Harris Cyclery has Panaracers:

and Peter White also sells studded Nokian 650B's if you are a diehard:

I like the idea of 650B tires, as most fat 700 tires don't fit well into a normal road frame. I just wish Kogswell didn't have the sloping top tube. Sloping tob tubes are evil, you know?

03-22-2009, 12:07 PM
Sloping tob tubes are evil, you know?

Please explain. I am just genuinely curious. I have been reading Randonneurs USA /Oregon and have becoming quite intrigued and was wanting to know what kinds of bikes are best. I was wondering if my old Motobecane Grand Touring could make the cut as well.

(Most of my interest has been sparked by Lynne's blogs)

03-22-2009, 06:41 PM
you'll see all kinds of bikes on rando rides. Basically, the bike you can ride on for hours and hours and hours and hours and it has cargo capacity for what you need to take along. I'd still be riding my early 80's 27" Sekai 2400, if it hadn't self-destructed a couple of years ago.

In the PNW, fenders are kind of a given :)

That said, yes, I ride a Riv Bleriot, but isn't the last rando bike I'll have. I'm in line for a custom. Some folks ride Ti bikes, some ride aluminum. Some build their own bikes. Some ride recumbents. There are a few 650B bikes in the mix, some 26" wheel bikes in the mix. Whatever works for you and isn't going to have some awful mechanical out in the middle of nowhere. Wheels with more than 18 spokes are probably a good idea.

I've got racks on my bike. Many folks get away with a front rack and front bag, or a front bag without the rack. I'm short, so I need a rack keeping my capacious seat bag away from my rear wheel. If I had a 700C bike, things would be a lot tighter, in a bad way.

That said, if I'm riding a 200km in perfect weather, I'll ride the Lemond Zurich (steel frame) - which breaks all the points I made above :)